Ontario bill would require MPPs to post expenses online

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced new legislation Thursday that if passed would give the province's ombudsman the power to investigate school boards, municipalities and universities.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne introduces new legislation aimed at greater government transparency. 2:50

Premier Kathleen Wynne announced new legislation Thursday to give the province's ombudsman the power to investigate school boards, municipalities and universities and to require MPPs to post travel expenses online.

The wide-ranging accountability legislation would also set up a separate ombudsman, one focused on patients, to oversee hospitals and care homes. It would also give government the power to impose hard caps on salaries of public sector executives.

"There should be all-party support for this," said Wynne Thursday. "These new measures, if passed, would put us on track to become one of the most transparent governments in the country."

Other aspects of the legislation:

  • New powers for the provincial advocate for children and youth, similar to those of the Ontario Ombudsman, to investigate matters relating to children and youth involved in the child protection system.
  • Amendments to the Lobbyists Registration Act to tighten reporting requirements for lobbyists, address conflicts of interest and increase fines for offences.
  • Rules requiring all MPPs to post online their expense information for out-of-riding travel, hotels, meals and hospitality.
  • Cabinet ministers and their staff would also have to post their expense information online.
  • Changes to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act to require all organizations under the act to preserve their records.

The Progressive Conservatives, however, say Wynne has little credibility when it comes to openness and transparency in government.

PC Leader Tim Hudak says his party was told they'd have to pay almost $1,200 to see what Wynne billed taxpayers in the last year. He pointed to the cost of cancelling two gas plants that could cost taxpayers up to $1 billion and questionable business dealings at Ornge air ambulance as examples of poor oversight.

With files from the CBC's Genevieve Tomney


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